Christmas does funny things to my heart. It brings back memories of enthusiastically unwrapping roller blades and portable CD players… but it also has the ability to drag me into depths of self-doubt and disappointment.
Before we go further, this isn’t a blog about the “reason for the season.” We all know that I’ll end up there… thankful for Jesus and what He’s done. Truthfully, I’m there already, thankful that Jesus doesn’t require me to look one way when I feel another.
My son and I went shopping a couple of weeks ago when the Christmas trappings were just being hung with care. I noticed a definitive lack of joy when my eyes hit them. More lights, more bows… some giant candy canes. The more I saw, the more oppressive they felt.
When we got home that evening I tried to process these feelings with my husband, like a good self-aware individual does. “It’s the end of the year, I said, and for some reason the Christmas cheer on every corner is just another reminder that time is moving and I’m not accomplishing what I hoped I would.”
The past couple of years have been fine guys. Not easy, but fine. We went through things as every family does: financial setbacks, trying our hand at raising preteens, loss of loved ones… Nothing that we couldn’t handle with time and patience and prayer. But I’ll tell you a little secret… I’m a 3 on the enneagram. Look it up, I’m mildly embarrassed by it. I’m competitive, driven and ambitious, to a fault at times. And guys, as we near 2020, I’m just nowhere near the goals I’ve set for myself.
Christmas, this year, is a big fat reminder that I just didn’t make the cut. And before I get to the good part of the post, I want to tell you that I’m grieving that. Please hear this: it’s okay to take a second and sink down in that and feel abundantly sad that things have not gone the way you would like them to.
What is not okay is staying down there for too long. It’s also not okay to project those feelings on to others.
If you’re with me in these difficult-end-of-year feelings maybe it’s time to look up. I needed to remind myself that my life and what I’ve achieved, is likely a very attractive life to others. My life is FULL of goodness and if I stay down to long I’ll miss it all.
It’s also time for me to make changes. It’s not all about just recognizing your blessings, because sometimes change is needed for growth, it’s needed to thrive. I made gratitude lists and action plans. Action plans that I might completely fail at, but I’ve made them nonetheless.
If you struggle during this season, or any other for that matter, please reach out to others. Don’t stay down too long, and if you can’t drag yourself out of the pit get some help from a professional or friend.
We may be coming to the end of one thing, one year, but what comes next is all new, and it can be so good.